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The Extractor

A highly rated (and free) tool for uncompressing .zip and .rar files. The Extractor is an excellent "no frills" utility that dispenses with the bells and whistles. Instead, it focuses on the task of extracting archived files in record time. The drag and drop interface is also a handy touch, making handling large numbers of files a piece of cake.

ZipGenius

A free compression tool for Microsoft Windows operating systems. ZipGenius allows you to compress files in a variety of archive formats (over 20 different archives including: ZIP, RAR, ARJ, ACE, CAB, SQX, OpenOffice.org doc and even 7ZIP. The program is regularly updated and has been recommended by numerous software Web sites.

jZIP

An excellent free ZIP program that will help you to decompress files with a .zip extension (although the program can also handle TAR, GZip, 7-Zip, RAR and ISO files). The program is free for absolutely anybody and isn't limited to personal use, so even enterprise users can receive the full benefit. jZIP is based on 7-Zip architecture and contains no adware, spyware, pop-ups or other irritating distractions. File size is 2.32MB.

PeaZIP

This free, open source, cross-platform archiver utility is supported by the Windows and Linux operating systems and handles a wide range of compressed file formats, including ZIP, TAR, ARC, RAR and others. The program is particularly adapt at handling multiple archives at once. There is a comprehensive FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page at the PeaZIP site. The application is being refined with each update so expect the program to become even more robust in the near future.

FreeZIP

This small, fast and seriously cool compression utility for Microsoft Windows operating systems integrates seamlessly into Windows Explorer, so even Internet newbies and inexperienced computer users should find it a doddle to use. The program performs the task of decompressing ZIP files very well. Alternative language options are also available, including English, German, Polish, Italian, Swedish, French and even Chinese.

CoffeeCup Free ZIP Wizard

This freeware program from CoffeeCup makes uncompressing ZIP files a breeze. On the flip side, if you wish to compress files (rather than decompressing them), this program performs this task just as effectively. The program also has built-in e-mail and FTP functions, so once you've compressed a file, you can send it via e-mail or upload it immediately. This program's "wizard" interface is great for beginners.

7-Zip

Ideal for those "zip power users" who want the maximum compression ratio. 7-Zip will meet the demands of people wishing to backup large amounts of data with convenience. It also supports various file formats, e.g. ZIP, CAB, RAR, GZIP and TAR. The interface is very similar to Windows Explorer and includes a command line interface. Note: the program is completely free, although donations are accepted.